By Muso Kokushi
Publish yr note: First released in 1996
Dream Conversations is a set of a popular eastern master's written replies to questions about the real nature of Zen. briefly, easily worded teachings, Muso Kokushi (1275-1351), sometimes called Muso Soseki, exposes universal misconceptions with remarkable readability, providing mental insights designed to steer the reader into the depths of genuine Zen event.
These incisive teachings may be specifically precious for today's Zen scholars, as they try with their very own confusion and misunderstandings in regards to the actual course of Zen.
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Additional info for Dream Conversations: On Buddhism and Zen
Eventually it becomes possible to retain a visual or other representation of the preparatory object. 32 Thirdly there arises the semblance (patibhiiga-) nimitta. This is in a more abstract form which lacks irrelevant detail still present in the acquired nimitta. It is described as soft and delicate, much purer than the previous one. 33 It is a pure concept lacking physical reality and deriving from ideation (saiiiia-ja). 34 If then the object of concentration is, for example, the idea of blueness (nzla-kasifJa), the semblance nimitta arises as soon as this idea is brought to mind in the same way as the reflection of the face appears immediately upon glancing at a mirror.
Naturally both are viewed as necessary, the differences being in part a matter of degree and in part a question of the order of development. In practice these terms have come to refer specifically to the presence or absence of the jhiinas. One whose vehicle is calm develops proficiency in the four jhiinas and optionally also the four formless attainments (ariipasamiipattis) or the various kinds of psychic power (iddhi). He then embarks upon the development of insight. One whose vehicle is insight requires only a stage of concentration less than that needed for the attainment of jhiina and may never develop it at all.
Fear of the unknown is perhaps partly also implied. Clearly the removal of these obstacles is no mean task in itself and nor is a merely negative removal intended. In the sutta itself the removal of ill-will involves also 'sympathy for the good of all beings' (sabba-piil)a-bhiita-hitiinukampl) and similar changes are required in the other cases. 23 They are elsewhere likened to canals about a mountain stream which have to be shut off if the stream of the mind is to lose its turbulence. 24 The removal of 'sloth and torpor' is of particular interest.
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